Darlington II: Bobby Labonte preview

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C., Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2004 -- The following are Southern 500 pre-race notes and quotes for Bobby Labonte, driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet for Joe Gibbs Racing: SOUTHERN 500 PRE-RACE NOTES: * Labonte will...

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C., Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2004 -- The following are Southern 500 pre-race notes and quotes for Bobby Labonte, driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet for Joe Gibbs Racing:

SOUTHERN 500 PRE-RACE NOTES:

* Labonte will attempt to start his 24th race at Darlington Raceway. He has one win at Darlington, in the Southern 500, in the fall of 2000.

* Labonte has five top-five finishes at Darlington and won the Bud pole for the Southern 500 in the fall of 1997.

* On March 21 at Darlington, Labonte started 12th and finished second behind Jimmie Johnson in the Carolina Dodge Dealers 400.

* In 2003 at Darlington, Labonte started 20th and finished 37th in the spring race and started fifth and finished seventh in the fall race.

* Labonte has five top-five and 10 top-10 finishes in 2004.

* Labonte finished ninth Nov. 7 at Phoenix International Raceway, his first top 10 finish since July 3 at Daytona. He remained 15th in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings with 4,007 points. He is 20 points behind 14th-place Kevin Harvick and 284 points ahead of 16th-place Jeff Burton.

* The primary car for the Southern 500 is chassis No. 74, the car Labonte used to win the pole and finish fourth with in 2003 at Las Vegas. Labonte also drove the car in 2003 at California, where he finished second and at the second Pocono race, where he finished 30th after an engine problem ended his day early. The car was driven in 2004 at Dover when Labonte started 18th and finished 25th in the spring and started sixth and finished 14th in the fall. Labonte also used the car in Aug. 2004 at Bristol when he started 19th and finished 16th.

* The back-up car will be No. 78, the car Labonte used June 13 and Aug. 1 at Pocono when he finished third and 29th (accident), respectively. He also used the car March 7 at Las Vegas, where he started seventh and finished eighth and March 14 at Atlanta where he started 10th and finished 18th. The car was used Sept. 19 at New Hampshire when Labonte started 13th and finished 18th and Oct. 16 when he started 34th and finished 17th. In 2003, the car was used the in the second Atlanta race where Labonte finished fifth. Chassis No. 78 was also used at both Michigan races and the Kansas race. Labonte won the pole at both Michigan races and finished second in the car in the first Michigan race. He started fourth in the car at Kansas.

SOUTHERN 500 PRE-RACE QUOTE:

BOBBY LABONTE (No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet; 2000 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Champion): "I like going to Darlington. It's a great track and the racing there is really good. When you talk about the history of NASCAR, you've got to talk about Darlington. We had a good run there in the spring and just came up a little short behind Jimmie Johnson. Hopefully, we'll come out one spot ahead this time. We got out first top-10 in what seemed like forever last week, (ninth at Phoenix), so hopefully, we can build on that and get a victory in the last two races."

-jgr-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Burton , Bobby Labonte , Kevin Harvick , Jimmie Johnson
Teams Joe Gibbs Racing